Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The making of a triple ikebana

another piece where I am often asked how i make them:

The making of a gargoyle

The two most common questions i get about my gargoyles: "what is it made out of (is it metal?)" and "how did you make it?" Well, I start with paper clay, then.....

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Where Art Lives

Where do my ceramic pieces end up? I mean specifically, on what shelf, in whose hands...

I often hear people discussing where they are want to place a piece they purchase:
a gargoyle right at the top of the stairwell, a triangle bowl  under a certain lamp a luminaria on a particular shelf.  I try to envision where they put it, of them using it.
So I decided to invite those who obtain my pieces to send me a photo of where they have put it, or one of them using it, depending on the kind of piece it is.

I sold this gargoyle on Saturday afternoon at KRASL, st Josephs, mi. by 545, the new owner had sent me this picture and this email: "
It was a pleasure meeting you today! Here is your creation, with a dr Seuss sludge tarpon for company."  probably the fastest i have ever gotten a response! I think the gargoyle has found a good home! 

An artist friend, Dawn, posteda pic of the piece she got from me on facebook:
"The beautiful new addition to my house. A vase/tumbler from my sweet friend Thomas Harris" Awww, although many who saw this were more taken by the window in the background! proud to have a piece near such a beautiful window!

I sold this piece to the mother of a fellow artist back in Feb of this year, and recently got this photo of where it is displayed in their kitchen:

Janet made a purchase of several yunomis at the Columbus Arts Festival:

"Displaying my new wine glasses on my bakers rack.  Love them!"

Blue Bowl: the title of the email was "where I live"
"I bought this piece at Cincinnati Winterfair in November 2013. With a blue candle, it sits atop a marbletop cabinet in our solarium.
Great talking to you yesterday at Summerfair."
Mu friend Erick comes and helps me with some of my glazing when i am in a pinch,
 which is often enough. he asked if he could borrow the piece pictured below, 
one slated for a bit of kintsugi repair. He wanted to show me how good the piece
looks where he has it...hmmm. it does look better there than in my studio collecting

Talpid 2 finds a home in St Louis
It was a pleasure meeting Diann and her husband. they sent me this great photo of the Rooster Gargoyle in their home! Thanks Diann.

On the Mantel, Front and Center:
thanks to Dr Frank Pianki for sending this photo (and for taking the trouble of taking and sending three separate photos for me to choose from. )...
On the Mantel in the center, in the living room. Sweet!

 Indiana Artisan: Nice to see Clay Guild Members!
Adam, Larry, Kris and I were in the show, Leanne, Rebecca, Daria were there shopping, did I miss anybody?  Thanks to Leanne for giving a good home to one of my little multi-color vases, (and for sending me this great photo!):

"A sweet little vase for my parrot tulip.
Love it!"

Local Clay Trade
Speaking of trades, Barbie wanted one of my ducktail mugs, and (her) Adam from our Local Clay Guild offered to make me one with throw rings and stein sized. Couldn't refuse!
here is barbie, pretty in pink, with her acquisition in use!

"Here's my morning coffee photo for you . Still went with my pink for you. Lol"
The pink thing: there was this great story see, about this lady in pink camo, see, and slippers, and a bow, and a buck, but thats for another time.....

Barely Back from Indiana Artisan in Indianapolis
 when Laurie sent me this:

"Tried it with shredded wheat. Love it."
She actually mentioned that it reminded her of Alice in Wonderland even before I told her i call it a Madhatter Teacup. Great minds...Oversize, great for soup. and for breakfest cereal too. awesome.
Thanks Laurie!

Met up with Michael and Victoria at Kentucky Crafted.
 Did another trade. I love trades. I got a couple of Michael's squints, Michael posted  this on Facebook:
"Cuppa the day is from Thomas G Harris... He layers the cup and then sands it back in these lovely layers!"
Thanks Michael!

Pocket watch and pot:
Erick from Bloomington actually sent me several pictures to choose from. I chose this one, which shows some of the other things that reside on his desk.
"Just holding it makes the coffee taste better. Thanks!"

The Gargoyle and The Cat
Even though Laura and Moises in Bloomington got this Grotesque from my solo Exhibition at the Waldron Arts center in April 2013, it wasn't until today that they sent me a picture of it. Apparently the cat has taken to hang out up there with the  HellHound:

I'll see if they want me to make a pair of wings for the kitty...
How cool is that? Here is a closeup ot the HellHound:

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Folded Yunomi

It is not uncommon for me to be asked how I make these pieces:

I throw a shape that is a bit more like a bowl,  cut it in three sections, then fold each section over the adjoining section.
 In order to achieve the surface decoration you see, I spray separate layers of underglaze colors over each other,making sure each layer is dry before continuing.
I  then use different grits of sandpaper to sand to different layers.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Triangle bowl Assemblage

The bowl is cut,
The outer sections are removed.
A bottomless cylinder will be used to add a rim.

Sections to match the top of the bowl are prepared.

Slip is used to attach the section to the bowl.

The other sections are added.

Once assembled, the piece is smoothed and the shape is adjusted.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Cincinnati Summerfair: Does it Match the Couch?

Cincinnati SummerFair last weekend was the beginning of a back-to-back shows in June. Big show, some 300 artists on meandering paths in Cony Island right on the River. Immediate confusion coming in, as I feared my GPS was taking me on an "adventure" when I crossed the bridge from Ohio into Kentucky. Can't be right...but trusted a head voice, "Trust the GPS Thomas". I decided to forge on, and sure enough  the highway curved back into Cinci, right to Coney Island. Happy I was.
During setup I got to watch all the cowgirls and guys make their way to the Lady Antebellum concert. Big thunderstorm interrupted my setup and the concert, so I hid in my (new, sturdy, well anchored, waterproof) tent for an hour until it let up, listening to the screams of concertgoers streaming back to their cars (to get their raincoats? cause the concert paused, then continued).
 Friday; Summerfair patrons paid 12 bucks to get in. I think they got their moneys worth. Common to see them checking their maps, making a plan on where to go next, so as to not miss anything. A bit of concern when I saw so many walking around with beers, often in what seemed a really big cups: they pay to get in, then pay for alcohol,  for food, will there be anything left for arts and crafts? Worst two fairs I have had were festivals mixing these elements.... Means its Time for the Bag Check: Lots of people walking around with bags, a good sign sales are happening. Check..
 I didn't sell as much as I expected (that guy Paul, when I told him I was going to Cinci said "you're going to make alot of money!" -more on him later) Suffice it to say it didn't meet my (or his for me probably) expectations; I didn't sell a large number of pieces, but I did sell some higher-priced pieces which made up the difference.

 My biggest attraction was something I wasn't selling, but a sign I posted (because of Paul):
I had to put this in my booth after what Paul said.
 I swear, thousands pointed this sign out to whomever they were with. Only one mom replied to her son, "yes it does". There was no 'kidding' in her delivery. Some thought I made the sign and wondered where I found the license plates: Smiley Face: its a picture a friend posted on Facebook. But I am going to make it into a ceramics piece (cause that's what I do) and sell them by the thousands. When patrons  talked to me about it, I told them The Story:  "This guy comes up to me at Indiana Artisan, last March, raves about this piece:
Paul said it was the best piece in the show. That's like a major award.

 He really loves it, stands there a long time, then leaves, saying he will be back. He comes back at the end of the show, more raving, even says it is the best piece in the whole show (gosh, blush). hand on his chin, he then adds, 'but I just don't have anything green in my house anymore'."

You know how it is when you say the same thing over and over to people who come into your booth, the tag lines, the hooks, the conversation starters? Clearly this is one of mine. The patrons love it. But when I got tired of it, I began to add to it, telling them the guys name is Paul, and, See, over there? (point),  by the Tilt-a-whirl?,  well he's right there! Why don't you go over and ask him if he STILL doesn't have green in his house, o,r is he sure he doesn't have ANYTHING green, or, wouldn't this bowl then GIVE you something green, or, funny and I thought you were Irish...You get the idea, and patrons make their own suggestions too.. I like Paul. I'll see him at Woodland, do the same thing. Smiley Face. He's probably getting business from it.

Saturday: I could tell every time the photographer next to me made a sale. He would unfold a bag and pop it open with both hands with a large snapping sound. Heard a-lot of those, so I think he did quite well.  They had a record 10,000 on Saturday alone. So, 30k for the three days? Possibly.

Sunday: At break-down I looked at where the jeweler tent to the left of me had been , you could see how much traffic had been there. Looked like a cattle drive had taken a detour through the booth. The photographer said the jeweler shouldn't have been there because it was "beads". I stayed out of it. She was nice, she was juried in, she there. Art Fair can be a misnomer; it isn't always art or fair.

It can be one thing to get into bigger shows, and another to sell well at those same shows. I spent some  time  looking  at ceramists/potter's booths. At some, I was amazed, nay, awestruck by the floor-to-ceiling inventory (have I even made as much as they are displaying in a year??) .  Beef up inventory, yeah. Checked out the Ceramics prize winners . Exact opposite. Like a gallery, with, seriously, maybe 10-15 pieces on display, closer to what I do. I've got some ideas, but  the number of pieces I display will probably stay low..

Organizers did a great job, helping setup,take down, providing amenities; a breakfast bar where they charged a nominal fee- (really was cheap, probably just covered expense of food), award banquet featuring two, count-em , 2- 10.00 coupons to redeem with the food, beer/wine vendors. Large Holy Trinity bourbon chicken, rice and beans got both my coupons. I saved the second one for lunch the second day. And J.D, he didn't have to, but he used his left-over money from his turkey wrap to buy me a corn-on-the-cob. Buy one of his pots next time you see him, will you? Say Thomas sent you. Say the same to Paul, he'll know what you mean. maybe we can get him to go green.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Going along for the ride (2): The (glazing) medium is the message.

 Sometimes the process intervenes to affect the outcome. In this case, the procedure I use to  get a certain effect intervened to influence the look of the piece in a way I definitely didn't intend.

I use a lot of  water-abrasion on my work, which means I use (mostly) a glazing medium mix to mask sections. The problem with glazing medium out of the bottle is that it is clear and sometimes difficult to see on the piece it is applied to:
Glazing medium with no color added.
I began to add acrylic paint to the glazing medium to make it easier to see how much mask had been applied.

Glazing medium with black acrylic added.
When I  added the underglaze, the unfired piece looked like this:
 The black background really makes the design jump out. But as I said, the acrylic medium burns away in the bisque, so if I wanted that look, I would have to add the background with something more permanent. I put a layer of black underglaze on the piece prior to masking on some of the pieces:
After bisque the mask has burned away. Two with black background applied.
Example of a finished piece with black backround .
So the use of color in the mask, which was by intention, only to allow me to see the mask, ended up influencing the look of the finished product. I still use the white background as well , but will continue to experiment with the background color, possibly substituting black slip for the underglaze.